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Entries in Cinematography (297)

Tuesday
Jan092018

FYC: Five Best Documentary Tech Achievements of 2017

A special edition of the Doc Corner column by Glenn Dunks this week...

Documentaries are unsurprisingly scantly recognised outside of their own category. Steve James’ Hoop Dreams scored a still one-of-a-kind nomination for Best Editing in 1994, and the Best Original Song category has become a place for aging rock stars (and J. Ralph!) to get recognition for their work in documentaries. Yet outside of these rare occurrences, documentaries are almost never considered to be in genuine contention.

Considering the volume of documentaries being produced (170 eligible titles in 2017 alone!), it shouldn’t be unreasonably to expect that many are pushing the documentary medium to places that would have been unfathomable two decades prior. Those changes can be through form thanks to technological advancements giving filmmakers an ability to make docs as technically proficient as anything else no matter the budget. Or they can come through structure and narrative, allowing contemporary audiences that are hip to new ways of telling stories to experience something through the wonders of streaming that would have once struggled in experimental arthouses of downtown Manhattan.

So in lieu of a personal Oscar doc ballot (mine would include only one from the 15-wide shortlist), here are five For Your Considerations for achievements outside of the Documentary Feature category itself...

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Wednesday
Jan032018

FYC: "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" for Best Cinematography

by Ilich Mejia

Sometime this fall, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer began recurring less and less in conversations surrounding films likely to be Oscar nominated this month. The fact that a film featuring a vindictive teen with supernatural powers was even in any awards-friendly conversation despite voters’ general aversion to anything paranormal is a testament to its many assets: a compelling cast well led by Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, and Barry Keoghan (and even child actors Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic, both easily disturbed but unmoved like any Lanthimos vet), an eerie score tuned flawlessly to make you laugh out loud at the most horrific sight, and some of the most concealed but poignant contemporary costume work in film this year. But perhaps the movie’s greatest showcase is Thimios Bakatakis’s cinematography as he paints ordinary Cincinnati into a most chilling Epidaurian stage.

Come read more about Bakatakis's wizardry, wary of miiild spoilers!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec122017

Doc Corner: 'Jane' is Our Oscar Frontrunner

by Glenn Dunks

We are informed at the beginning of Jane that the footage we are about to see had been previously lost. While it is absolutely astonishing that such incredible footage could have somehow just vanished and nobody thought to look for it before now, let's be thankful. It means we get Jane, a compelling and often awe-inspiring documentary from Oscar-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen.

Jane is gorgeously composed documentary. An exciting play of form that that swings among the vines thanks to the prowess of contemporary rhythms of structure and construction, yet hums to the classic, even nostalgia-inducing visions at its heart...

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Thursday
Nov092017

Honorary Oscars: Owen Roizman and "Tootsie"

We're revisiting work from this year's Honorary Oscar winners. Here's Eric Blume on cinematography Owen Roizman

Sydney Pollack’s 1982 movie Tootsie is one of my all-time favorite films. It's a perfect treat to revisit when you need to feel like there’s hope in the world.  Despite many viewings, I’ve never truly contemplated the cinematography by one of this year’s Honorary Oscar recipients, Owen Roizman.

Tootsie marked Roizman’s fourth of five Academy Award nomination (the others are The French Connection, The Exorcist, Wyatt Earp and Network).  It’s not the kind of work that typically generates an Oscar nomination. Indeed, the competition that year (Gandhi, Das Boot, E.T., and Sophie’s Choice) were the more magical, lyrical, expansive sort of films that are usually recognized in that category.

But Roizman’s contribution to Tootsie is gigantic, key to the film’s tone and success. It's also an excellent example of how many careful, intelligent decisions go into a more typical, mainstream film and the difference they can make...

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Wednesday
Aug162017

Review: Wind River

by Lynn Lee

It should come as no surprise that writer-director Taylor Sheridan, currently hot in Hollywood after his Oscar screenplay nomination for Hell or High Water, is an actual, bona fide cowboy.  Perhaps that’s why his work feels like such a throwback—to an era in which quietly capable men, silently toting unspoken burdens, took on the joyless task of meting out frontier justice.  At the same time, he’s shown a canny gift for placing such old-school archetypes in a distinctly modern, of-this-moment social and political context, making their struggles feel unexpectedly timely or, rather, timeless.  That gift is on ample display in his new film, Wind River, which is now in wide release after nabbing the best directing prize in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes earlier this year.

Set on a remote, wintry Indian reservation in Montana, the film marks the third installment in a loose trilogy of Westerns penned by Sheridan (the first two being Sicario and Hell or High Water), though Wind River is the first one he directed...

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